Julia Cameron talks about writing and the therapeutic role it plays. I have definitely used writing to help me through hard times; it helps me gather my thoughts. But, on the other hand, it has sometimes helped me gather my thoughts towards things that didn't help me to think about.
Today I've been blue. Should I think about that or should I do something about it (like try to focus my thoughts on positive things)? Our paths are not always clear; theres a role for cathartic writing, but there's also a role for writing focused on the future.
I think I get most down when I focus on futures that I don't think I can bring into being. Then I just flog myself thinking about that which would be nice but is unrealistic. I feel most positive when I'm focused on futures that seems possible and even likely. And the more positive that I am, the more that seems possible.
Writing is very good for helping you think about the future and makes plans for the future. It's a good exercise, if you're stuck in your writing, to simply write about what you hope to accomplish--on any level--such writing provides a way of looking at what you have been doing and how it relates to the goals that you are setting for yourself.
The goals you set for yourself need not be perfect: you can always change your goals. You want to be able to learn. Some goals you may realize are not worth the effort; some may not be worth any effort; some may need to be refined or altered. There are good reasons to abandon old goals. But you want to be careful not to abandon old goals just because you can clearly see problems in achieving it. All goals of value will provide some challenge.
Unstructured writing--or, more importantly, the willingness to produce unstructured writing--can take an important place in a writer's repertoire of tools. Sometimes writing has to be able to explore and follow the stream of the consciousness as it flows without conscious guidance. Such writing can be crucial in finding a goal to focus on.
It would be inappropriate to the title if this little piece had too clear a focus. Focus is only appropriate in some types of writing.